Gene editing restores dystrophin expression in a canine model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Amoasii, L and Hildyard, J C W and Li, H and Sanchez-Ortiz, E and Mireault, A and Caballero, D and Harron, R and Stathopoulou, T-R and Massey, C A and Shelton, J M and Bassel-Duby, R and Piercy, R J and Olson, E N (2018) Gene editing restores dystrophin expression in a canine model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. SCIENCE, 362 (6410). pp. 86-91.

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Abstract

Mutations in the gene encoding dystrophin, a protein that maintains muscle integrity and function, cause Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). The deltaE50-MD dog model of DMD harbors a mutation corresponding to a mutational “hotspot” in the human DMD gene. We used adeno-associated viruses to deliver CRISPR gene editing components to four dogs and examined dystrophin protein expression 6 weeks after intramuscular delivery (n = 2) or 8 weeks after systemic delivery (n = 2). After systemic delivery in skeletal muscle, dystrophin was restored to levels ranging from 3 to 90% of normal, depending on muscle type. In cardiac muscle, dystrophin levels in the dog receiving the highest dose reached 92% of normal. The treated dogs also showed improved muscle histology. These large-animal data support the concept that, with further development, gene editing approaches may prove clinically useful for the treatment of DMD.